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Meeting Scheduled To Address Crime In Old Town Temecula

The public is invited to attend the meeting scheduled Jan. 25 at Temecula City Hall, 41000 Main St.

Investigators on scene in Old Town Temecula. Patch file photo/Peter Surowski
Investigators on scene in Old Town Temecula. Patch file photo/Peter Surowski
Concerns about crime have prompted a group of Old Town Temecula merchants to reach out to officials, and now a public meeting has been set to address the unease.

Officers from the Temecula Police Department's Problem Oriented Policing Team and city officials are expected to be on hand for the Jan. 25 meeting that has been scheduled for 8 a.m. at Temecula City Hall, 41000 Main St. Dozens of merchants are expected to attend and the community is invited.

According to a letter submitted to the city and the police department, the merchants say they are concerned about what they feel is an increase in break-ins, property loss, and also the loss of life in Old Town. They are also concerned about transients in the area.

During the upcoming meeting, the merchants are hoping officials will explain "what steps will be taken to eliminate this unhealthy environment before more robberies and violence occur," according to the Oct. 28 letter.

After hearing that a meeting had been set, on Jan. 18 Temecula City Councilman Ron Roberts advised City Manager Aaron Adams, in writing, of his support for the merchants.

"I fully support getting our PD, especially our POP team involved in helping the merchants along Old Town Front street, south of Santiago, with their crime issues. I am still concerned we never solved the murder of the music shop employee up to now.

"There is a lot of foot traffic after dark from homeless who live in the river bed that probably could use stronger Code enforcement and other enforcement," Roberts wrote.

"Bottom line, I fully support our City's efforts to help our merchants feel safer in that area of our City," he continued.

For more information about the meeting, contact Barry Mayer at 951-676-0567.
Brenda January 18, 2014 at 02:59 AM
Mike our Temecula PD is getting stretched pretty thin with all the crime and other crap going on around our fair City. Old Town has needed more help, as in right in the parking lots, for some time. That sees the things happen, catches them in the act, are seconds away with a phone call or page. I agree a good functioning private security company could provide that extra help that we need there. I also believe the Mall needs to step up their security in the parking lot, and structure. Nearly every time I am there I will see drug sales and it gets pretty disgusting when this ole gal says something to the men, guys, gal, doing it, they laugh and hand it to me like I would buy it too. Its a huge joke that they sell it right out in public in the parking lot or in the Mall its self. I am not one to just watch and not say at least something to them. But its a joke when they get away with it so easily. If we do not get a handle on the drugs, manufacturing, Temecula being a mid-way dumping point for the drugs, for the crime in Old Town, Drunk Drivers we are going to continue to see people moving, lower house values, and of course more crime. If we required a good security company, with well trained officers with weapons, all types, and patrol vehicles, it would make a tremendous change around several private locations in the area. So I agree with you Mike.
Jed January 18, 2014 at 09:19 AM
Agree the PD is getting very stretched and that includes the entire area of both French Valley and Temecula Valley. A certain "element" has gravitated to the area and to mitigate that I would suggest a zero tolerance with harsh consequences. Clearly not the case as the losers with their graffiti and disregard/disrespect for the community and the brazen drug dealing behavior Brenda points out suggests this entire area is a cake walk for gangbangers, pedophiles and anyone inclined to embrace crime. Combine that with cities we are flanked by (Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Perris, Hemet) where many of these lowlifes reside in their holes therefore this area is prime territory for them to have their way. The SW Riverside County Sheriff's department needs to make a statement and beef up their anti-gang squads which takes budget $$ however without an aggressive and fortified approach this crime is a haven for the losers and will not improve and only become worse. What is the incentive to invest in a home or business in the Temecula/French Valley when this is a daily occurrence. Take a lesson from Irvine and Mission Viejo. They have the formula we need to subscribe to. Private security is a band-aide and not a solution.
MR2038 January 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM
The manpower to address crime in the city is available. Unfortunately it's tied up in traffic enforcement. Traffic enforcement generates revenue, catching criminals in the act does not. Do we really need a dozen or more motorcycle police?
Jed January 18, 2014 at 02:07 PM
@MR2038 - Good point and revenue is huge motivation with Highway Patrol too. These guys have tough jobs no matter how you slice it. My hat is off to law enforcement especially in high density places like SoCal. Almost impossible to slow people down or catch texting while driving although they try. Is the motivation to save lives or generate revenue? The roads are dangerous and people are rude and in a major hurry thus breaking the law. Law enforcement needs to possibly prioritize better and also have the budget to increase their presence. Decrease motorcycles and increase helicopters and canine.
Fauntleroy Murphy January 19, 2014 at 10:37 AM
This is a cyclical issue. The merchants have repeatedly met with city leaders over this issue. The city works with the PD and they step up presence in the area. When they did this on horseback for over a year, crime was all but eliminated. The problem is, when the crime goes away so do the officers. The problem comes back and the merchants have to meet with the city again. This is a tourist & local hot spot. The key is to have permanent "boots on the ground". Cops out of their cars and on foot, horseback, etc.
fdd0727 January 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Mike it's not up to the Merchants to protect themselves and the public who visit Old Town to provide security. It's the Police Department's responsibility to protect the citizens and business owners. REAL people visit and work at these businesses. The City and the PD shouldn't need a meeting to figure this out. DO YOUR JOB! #MR2038. You're right there appears to be ample resources available for traffic patrol. Everywhere I look there are Police hiding behind trees looking to generate revenue. There needs to be a balance between this and protecting the public.
KB January 19, 2014 at 03:03 PM
This is a red herring, and it sounds like the "merchants" want to engage in an OC style cleansing of the homeless/mentally ill - maybe hoping for a Kelly Thomas type incident to scare the rest away. Temecula is loaded with ultra-conservative, racist/hateful small minded cop but sniffer refugees from OC.
Alek J Hidell January 19, 2014 at 06:58 PM
duh... its all about the alcohol so prevalent there. And the tatted Harley posers. Run that USMC/biker element back to Oceanside where they belong and things will get quieter. All you cops have to do is pull them over for muffler modification, and then taser them for attitude. They belong in prison anyway..
Word Smith January 19, 2014 at 09:06 PM
The City Council needs to stop inviting criminals into the area. People established residence in Temecula because it was a safe place to raise their families. I moved away from Temecula after the City Council tried to make Summer House a homeless shelter without knowledge or approval of the residents. The outcry from the people was ignored and laughed at. The council is more interested in obtaining funds than in having a safe community. Increased crime, including murder, is the fallout.
Alex Hinden January 19, 2014 at 09:42 PM
Temecula is about to bring in 2000 more families to live in apartments behind Old Town. 2000 more families. If we can't tackle the crime we have now how are we going to handle 2000 more families?
Alex Hinden January 19, 2014 at 09:45 PM
In order for the City Council to get grant money they must bring in "below low income" renters. This means we are bringing in tough gang members from surrounding areas. They must also bring building to 30 residences per acre. Basically, you are slowly looking at building the same slums you see in other areas. The goal is to share the slums and spread slummy areas to a regional scale. No more cities. Just one big slummy region. Get ready for real violence. Temecula is not prepared for what is coming. We are not tough enough.
Sam Adams January 20, 2014 at 01:25 AM
Okay, ultraconservative and racist huh??? You sound like CNN or MSNBC. Also, "Marine" biker element??? Unless the only bar you've ever been in downtown is the Bank or the Stampede, you would know that there are actually some prominent biker gangs that frequent some of those establishments down there that the Marine clubs couldn't hold a flame too. The Marines are the least of your worries. Open up your eyes. Our beloved little town of Temecula seems to be growing a little too big for its britches. If you build it, they will come. 2000 more apartments behind Old Towne??? .....and your magic recipe is cops on horseback??? Lol!!! Temecula has a lot of growing up to do. I love our little town, and pray for it everyday.....but we live in Southern California....and a cancer is growing...
fdd0727 January 20, 2014 at 02:06 AM
Boo hoo Brenda. Spreaded too thin????? Sounds like the Mayor doesn't have a clue. Priviate security??? Looks like I'll be attending this ridiculous meeting. No more excuses. Nonsense.
CSP January 20, 2014 at 09:55 AM
I'd love to attend this meeting too, but something's wrong. These meetings are never on a Saturday. Thoughts on comments? Private Security is ludicrous! Merchants pay mor taxes than you seem to realize. It's a police responsibility to keep the town safe. Increased crime in this town is called "Growing Pains". As we grow, which this town has done for 20 years we will need to address the increase population, both resident and tourism. As for the merchants meeting with police? There's been 1 meeting in 5 years that I'm aware of. And I agree that sometimes police need a bit of a refresher. Last on this subject, the request for this meeting is from a completely different group of merchants that 5 years ago. This city does things without public knowledge? BS! There are public hearings regularly informing all business and residents of future growth pans. You just have to show up to the hearings!
Jed January 20, 2014 at 10:06 AM
A fair bit of conflicting viewpoints as I am not getting the slight that is directed at Marines and the obvious resentment of some aimed at OC. I am guessing the people that relocated here from OC did so because of a nice and relatively safe environment and good value while sacrificing inconvenience. As it turns out values are very unstable, close by cities like Perris, LE, Hemet losers are frequenting the area and building crime laden networks. The Temecula and French Valley will become an extension of the blight of the Inland Empire coupled with major increase in crime. Never lived in OC but sounds like a good blueprint to replicate. 2000 additional apartment dwellers in Old Town sounds like a very bad idea. That is not progress, that is a recipe for disaster!
SA January 20, 2014 at 11:48 AM
@Communist Hidell please just off yourself … You disrespectful child…
southernbelle January 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM
I remember Old Town 10 yrs ago when it was truly Old Town. All the building of new office space, the proposed 2000 pats on it's way in, the lack of PD visibility, etc has brought about changes on the face of Old Town. But we haven;'t seen nothing yet-wait till the low income pats are there! I remember the police on horseback and agree they should reconsider that VISIBLE enforcement, along with periodic show of patrol cars/motorcycles. Homeless have always been a problem there but I keep my mouth shut about them because my heart breaks for anyone that has to live on the street or in bushes. As far as MC's, they play a HUGE part in providing $$$ for many of th merchants and I don't remember ever hearing of any problems from any bike club ever. I personally like them being here and feel it's part of our home town ambience. I also think the presence of MC's intimidates the low-life thugs and gangbangers away. One more thought--how is Temecula going to handle another 2000-4000 (many families have 2 cars) exiting and entering the frwy in that area, on the already insane, dangerous, OVER crowded freeway ramps? This'll cause Old Town more crime when irate drivers snap and start beating the hell out of each other *hehehehe*
Sam Adams January 20, 2014 at 12:33 PM
When is enough development enough??? At some point you have to say NO MORE!!! Overcrowded DANGEROUS freeway off ramps, which will require politiking to approve expansion, overcrowded local high schools, and now the local PDs inability to keep an acceptable amount of control over a rise in local crime. This all spells overpopulated.... We better be innovative and fast!
Jed January 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Southernbelle and Jason have great points on freeway off ramps. Try making the trip on Winchester Road from say Murrieta Hot Springs to I-15; that is already a long and tedious, wild ride. Traffic light coordination is abysmal so more population of significance translates into painful commutes in the valley no matter how you slice it. The infrastructure which includes police presence is nowhere close to what is required to run the Temecula-French Valley now much less with a large increase in population. Perhaps commonsense should be a requirement to be on city council. Budgets throughout CA are anemic and $$$ is an essential part of building an adequate infrastructure combined with thoughtful city and county planners. Both elements may be severely lacking as related to this valley.
John January 20, 2014 at 01:43 PM
Bulldoze the riverbeds, trim up all the brush and trees by the on-ramps, fence off the open property from the day laborers, and have the PD make it very hard to hang out either thru muscle or by code. Also clear riverbeds behind Walmart area. When into that parking lot and was approached by several different transients for money, including a guy sitting by one of the entrances with two young kids sitting in the stroller next to him. I got the idea the kids were more of a selling point for him, more than out of need.
sam January 20, 2014 at 01:44 PM
Oh yes let's bring in more low income and build the stack'em and pack'em units like behind Home Depot, because this damn city council agreed to allow Agenda 21 into our community. Look it up folks, Hollywood has already denied this destruction happening in their city, how about Temecula fighting to stop Agenda 21 and it's illegimate child Common Core that's indoctrinating our children along with all the muslim crap in our text books. We are loosing our Cities, our Country and our Freedoms unless we ban together and stop this crap at City Level !
teri b January 20, 2014 at 02:28 PM
Sam, you're a complete imbecile - look it up! You give libertarians an awful name. Have you ever read a textbook? Your hateful diatribe deserves to be treated with utter contempt.
Mike Mueller January 20, 2014 at 03:12 PM
Old Town is a great place. I love going down there. I am friends with 3 business owners down there (including a bar owner whom I think needs to clean up his establishment), but it really comes down to business/profit - otherwise no company would be there. I have the perspective of both sides; the late night patron and the family man taking his kids to see Old Town a Professor Penny Pickle. During the day it is a great place to visit with your family. At night it converts to a pseudo "downtown" night spot. This is a choice that the merchants in question make. If they choose to increase their revenue by providing an environment that encourages those type of people to come to Old Town at night then they should provide their own security. I am not hating on those businesses, but I am not encouraging the crime and violence they invite either. Whats the damage on private security if everyone joins in...$100 a week?
MR2038 January 20, 2014 at 03:23 PM
May I add that it is not unusual for merchants to provide their own security, Think about how many times you've seen private security at jewelry stores, in banks, in parking lots and garages. Of course in most cases they are protecting their assets not necessarily their customers. Please no more liquor license in Old Town , no more beer and wine licenses in Old Town.
Jed January 20, 2014 at 04:00 PM
The issue apparently with Old Town is the clientele it caters to in the evenings. I am seldom down there at night unless my wife and I have dinner down there and are gone by 8pm. There are some enjoyable places without a doubt. Where does the clientele originate from? This valley? If so that would punctuate the point that a problematic element is gravitating to this valley as their residence. Not good at all however since residing here for 12 years I can say with some certainty that there is a disproportionate percentage of lowbrow folks that have made this valley home. They also have to get home or wherever after the booze consumption so having DUI checkpoints nearby after 10pm is prudent and will send a message to those that wish to be a problem. Wish there was an easy fix but it is clear some real thought needs to go into addressing what it is this valley wishes to firmly establish itself as besides the obvious wine country.
ChrisG January 20, 2014 at 06:38 PM
If the crime is related to the homeless as the article suggests then I would think this would be a pretty simple fix. My wife and I are rarely in old town in the evenings. Are these after hour crimes or after sunset?
PirateGirl January 20, 2014 at 08:22 PM
Thank you Ron Roberts for mentioning the fact about Larry Robinson..." I am still concerned we never solved the murder of the music shop employee up to now." With all modern technology, resources, and knowledge.....why oh why can they not find whoever killed Larry? Larry was the most kind and wonderful guy, and it breaks our hearts knowing the monsters who killed him are still 'at large'. They need to be found and pay for what they did.
TemeKoala January 20, 2014 at 10:06 PM
@Temecula This is what happens when everyone is tweeting, on Facebook, or playing fantasy football. When you fall asleep the wolves take the wheel and are happy to steer your country. The media outlets convince you all that taxes are evil, so we don't have any cops or teachers left to protect your children and ensure their safety coming up in this world. When you watch American Idol rather than raising your kids and being interested in worldly issues, your community becomes infiltrated with bottom feeders. No cops, more guns, more booze, more violence on the radio and tv and in your mind. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.
southernbelle January 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM
I agree about hiring private security AT NIGHT for the clubs like Stampede and Bailey's. They've already had crime recently (even though it could've been avoided with common sense). I think "armed" Security personnel would keep things in better control during club hours. @PirateGirl--I agree, shocking there isn't surveillance camera's or something! tragic loss.
TVOR January 21, 2014 at 12:04 PM
The root of these problems is population density. The city council has consistently allowed high density development while the infrastructure has not kept up. Blame them.

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